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Fish and Colon Cancer

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 31 March 2021
Fish and Colon Cancer
A 2019 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology reported the results of a study on the association of fish and long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs) and colorectal cancer (CRC). CRC, also known as bowel cancer, includes both the colon and rectum.
Research was led by the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC) using food frequency questionnaires and blood samples to determine whether eating fish and different fatty acids affected the risk of colorectal cancer (CRC). Researchers enrolled 521,324 participants in 10 European countries and included results from 476,160 people (333,919 women) who had a full follow-up and provided dietary data and lifestyle habits.
Researchers found that after an average follow-up time of approximately 14.9 years, 6291 participants developed colorectal cancer. Those participants who consumed the most fish (equivalent to 2-3 servings per week) were 12% less likely to be in the group that developed CRC compared to those who ate less than one portion per week.
While this study was not able to prove that fish consumption alone protected from CRC, the results certainly support current recommendations that suggest fish should be part of a balanced and varied diet. The benefits are many including a good source of protein, healthy omega-3 fats (DHA & EPA), a good source of vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, as well as several minerals such as selenium, taurine, and iodine.
While fatty fish is recommended due to its high level of n-3 fatty acids, lean fish, which also contains beneficial nutrients, should also be considered as part of a balanced healthy diet. Previous studies over the years found fish consumption protective against risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease and newer research indicates fish may have a protective role in preventing metabolic syndrome as well.
Researchers concluded that "In an analysis of dietary patterns of participants in the EPIC study, we found regular consumption of fish, at recommended levels, to be associated with a lower risk of CRC, possibly through exposure to n-3 LC-PUFA."
Reference:
Aglago EK, et al. Consumption of Fish and Long-chain n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Is Associated With Reduced Risk of Colorectal Cancer in a Large European Cohort. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2019 Jun 25. pii: S1542-3565(19)30669-X. doi: 10.1016/j.cgh.2019.06.031.
Author: Manuela Boyle
Tags: News Evidence Based Research Most Popular Cancer foods & cancer treatment

Associations

  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • American Society of Clinical Oncology
  • Australasian Integrative Medicine Association
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia
  • British Naturopathic Association

Disclaimer: Manuela Boyle is not a registered medical practitioner or specialist medical oncologist. Manuela Boyle is a general health service provider who is not legally required to be registered under National Health Practitioner regulation law. She practises under the national Code of Conduct that sets standards to general health service providers who are not regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

Manuela Boyle is an accredited member of the following professional organisations:
NHAA (Naturopaths & Herbalists Association of Australia), SIO (Society of Integrative Oncology) USA, AIMA (Australasian Integrative Medical Association), IFM (Institute of Functional Medicine) USA